Ethnic Identifier in Primary Education and Travellers in Higher Education

Ethnic Identifier in Primary Education

The Department of Education and Skills has introduced an ethnic identifier at primary level. Schools have been given till March 2015 to get this information back to the Department. This means that all parents may have already or will in the coming months receive a form from their children’s primary school that will ask them to identify what cultural or ethnic background they identify with. Previously only Traveller children were asked to identify. This Irish Traveller Movement and other Traveller organisations were strongly opposed to this practice as it was not within a human rights framework and only served to make Traveller children feel further isolated within the education system.
From now on ALL children will be asked to identify what cultural or ethnic background they identify with. Parents will be asked to complete this form on their child’s behalf and return it to the school.

Why are they collecting this information?

The Department of Education wants to collect this information for a number of different reasons:

  • For the allocation of resources to schools
  • To monitor the outcomes and achievements of pupils from different areas and backgrounds
  • For international reporting purposes
  • To monitor the impact of government policies on different groups in the education system and to inform the development of new education policies


Why should Traveller parents answer this question? 

It is very important for the Department of Education to collect this information so that it can ensure that the education system is working effectively for all children and that no group is discriminated against.  With the information gathered through this question the Department can examine the impact of existing education policies and develop policies in the future which best meet the needs of all children.

What happens if I do not answer this question? 

Nothing, however having this information will help the Department improve the education system for all children. In terms of Traveller children if you do provide this information it will support giving a true reflection on how Travellers are faring in the education system, including what has been the impact of the withdrawal of the Traveller specific supports etc. This in turn will support Travellers and Traveller organisations when lobbying for resources or specific initiatives that will support Travellers within the education system. It’s important to note that permission from parents is only required once.

Higher Education Authority: Travellers now a named target group

The HEA National Access Plan have named Travellers as a target group and have set a target of increasing the number of Travellers going onto higher level from the recorded average of 30 to 70 per year. A request is going to be made to the HEA to make a presentation to TESCAF on how they are planning on achieving this.

From: ITM Weekly News Update Friday 27th October 2014

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